All images © Marvel. From FANTASY MASTERPIECES #11, Oct 1967

Gaspar Saladino was first hired as a letterer by DC Comics editor Julius Schwartz in the fall of 1949, and Julie and his office mate editor Robert Kanigher kept Gaspar quite busy from that point on working on their stories. In the beginning he worked regular office hours at DC, from nine to five Monday through Friday, first in the DC production room, then at a desk in Schwartz and Kanigher’s office. When he had time he also lettered stories for other DC editors. Gaspar found many DC artists were former classmates from his high school, Manhattan’s School of Industrial Art, and he soon made or renewed those friendships as they worked together. In the early 1950s, he would sometimes do lettering jobs for other publishers at the request of one of those artists, side work that he probably did at home or in the artist’s studio, but that stopped around 1953 as he continued to get more and more work from Schwartz and Kanigher.

Something changed around 1963. Perhaps his growing family was an incentive to add other clients to his workload, perhaps it was again requests from artist friends. He started working for Western Publishing (Dell and then Gold Key), often with artists Mike Sekowsky or Jack Sparling. In 1966 he expanded this side work to other publishers like Harvey and King Features, and in 1967 he began working at Marvel Comics. There’s no way to know in what order his work there was done, but the cover above is among the first batch issued with October cover dates, and it’s the only cover he lettered in this period. It was the last issue of the series, and the cover was one of those last-minute Marvel bullpen collaborations, so Saladino’s lettering helps pull it all together, and there’s lots of it. The style is quite similar to his DC cover work in places, a bit different in others, as if he was trying not to be recognized. The rest of his Marvel work from this time was on inside pages.

From NOT BRAND ECHH #3, Oct 1967

Letterers at DC and other companies never received printed credits at the time, so while Gaspar was well-known in the comics industry, he was not yet known to fans, but working on Marvel stories presented a problem: Marvel DID usually list letterers in their story credits, a policy fought for by long-time Marvel letterer Artie Simek. It may not have been possible for Gaspar’s Marvel work to remain a secret, but he clearly didn’t want to announce it, so on this early story, perhaps his first, he solved the problem by using the symbols that indicate swearing in comics instead of a name in the Letterer slot of the credit box. His lettering in this and other NOT BRAND ECHH stories is smaller than his DC work, probably to fit things in better, and perhaps a request from the writer or editor. The story title is pure Saladino, even having his style of R in CHARLIE AMERICA where the indent on the right side is below the center of the middle stroke. This and the cover above are the only Marvel work by Gaspar with an October cover date.


There were quite a few Saladino lettering jobs in Marvel books with November cover dates, and Gaspar had come up with a solution for the lettering credit problem: a pseudonym. He used the name L. P. Gregory, made from the names of his three children: Lisa, Peter and Gregory. Anyone who knew him and his work could have figured it out either by the style or the name, but at least it gave him plausible deniability if someone at DC complained. He wasn’t ever under contract to them as far as I know, but the DC editors did have sway as a major source of income. Roy Thomas seems to have liked his work on humor, as here.

From SGT. FURY #48, Nov 1967

Gaspar worked on a variety of Marvel titles for several writers. He was a good choice for this war book, since he was lettering many of DC’s war stories, though here his title and sound effect are imitating the work of Artie Simek.

From TALES TO ASTONISH #97, Nov 1967

He also worked on Stan Lee stories like this one. I love his treatment of LIGHTNING in the title. Marvel and Stan were fond of nicknames in the credit block, so here he’s Scowlin’ L. P. Gregory.

From TALES OF SUSPENSE #95, Nov 1967

The title treatment on this story is unusual for Gaspar, perhaps it was roughed in by penciller Gene Colan, an artist Gaspar worked with for years on DC romance stories.

From THE X-MEN #38, Nov 1967

Here Saladino again imitates Simek in the title word DOOMSDAY, while his treatment of SHADOW reminds me of the pulp magazine logo. Gaspar’s lettering seems to be getting a bit larger now, even though there’s lots of it on this team book. Clever nickname for the letterer.

From THE AVENGERS #47, Dec 1967

Roy Thomas must have liked Gaspar’s work, here’s another issue he wrote that Saladino lettered. The word MAGNETO again has the electric look of LIGHTNING, seen earlier.

From TALES TO ASTONISH #99, Jan 1968

The title of this story is again in the style of Artie Simek, whose recurring top line is above it. The writer is Archie Goodwin, who would later move to DC.

From NOT BRAND ECHH #6, Feb 1968

This musical parody is more like something from MAD than the usual fare in this title, and Saladino handles the lettering well.

From SGT. FURY #51, Feb 1968

Here Saladino’s lettering is looking more like his DC work of the time, and he’s given the word LETTERER in the credit box a nice script treatment.


Another war book, and the title is again in Simek’s style to match his top blurb above it.

From SGT. FURY #53, April 1968

Another war story with a Simek-style sound effect, but the title is more like the work of the other veteran Marvel letterer Sam Rosen. I like what writer Gary Friedrich gives Gaspar to letter about his own work in the credit block.

From IRON MAN #2, June 1968

This Iron Man story again has a title in the style of Artie Simek. The credit box is quite large and elaborate with open lettering.

From NOT BRAND ECHH #8, June 1968

One more humor story for writer Roy Thomas and artist Gene Colan, even more crowded with lettering than the previous ones, but it all works fine. And with that, Saladino’s time at Marvel ended for a few years. He would return in 1971, more often starting in 1973, and eventually even use his own name on some stories, but was the reason he stopped at this point due to pressure from DC? Hard to say, but possible. He did continue to work occasionally for Western Publishing, but did no other freelance work outside of DC for the years 1969-70. Another reason could be the increased workload he was getting at DC after Ira Schnapp was retired in late 1967 or early 1968. Once that happened, Gaspar was doing most of DC’s logos, house ads and cover lettering in addition to his story work, so it might have just been a matter of his being too busy for a while to work elsewhere.

To sum up, in addition to the cover of FANTASY MASTERPIECES #11, Saladino lettered these stories:

NOT BRAND ECHH #3, Oct 1967: Original Origin of Charlie America 3pp

FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #5, Nov 1967: This Is A Plot? 3pp

SGT. FURY #48, Nov 1967: If Britain Should Fall… 20pp

TALES TO ASTONISH #97, Nov 1967: Namor the Sub-Mariner 12pp, The Hulk 10pp

TALES OF SUSPENSE #95, Nov 1967: Iron Man 11pp

X-MEN #38, Nov 1967: The Sinister Shadow of Doomsday 15pp

THE AVENGERS #47, Dec 1967: 20pp

TALES TO ASTONISH #99, Jan 1968: Namor the Sub-Mariner 11pp

NOT BRAND ECHH #6, Feb 1968: Best Side Story 7pp,

SGT. FURY #51, Feb 1968: 20pp

CAPT. SAVAGE #2, March 1968: 21pp

SGT. FURY #53, April 1968: 20pp

IRON MAN #2, June 1968: 20pp

NOT BRAND ECHH #8, June 1968: 6pp

That’s a total of 199 pages. More articles about Gaspar you might enjoy are on the COMICS CREATION page of my blog.

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